On Tuesday 21st September members of the sector with an interest in or responsibility for costume and textiles met at the University of Dundee to discuss (and propose action!) to revive the Textile Group network. The original group, now inactive, was formed around the Scottish Textile Heritage online project, and the event provided a fantastic opportunity to hear more about the original project, how we might continue work in this area, and how to establish a new group and to sustain it in the long-term. It was a really productive day, with lots of enthusiastic input and some great speakers who provided a lot of food for thought for the afternoon discussion workshops.
The morning included contributions from Helen Taylor, archivist at Heriot-Watt University, who provided an overview of the Scottish Textile Heritage Online project; Jilly Burns, National Partnerships Manager at National Museums Scotland who shared the lessons learnt in establishing the STICK network; and Professor Nicholas Pearce, Head of the School of Culture & Creative Arts at the University of Glasgow, who updated the group on the new centre for Textile Conservation and Technical Art History. We also heard from Judith Murray, Education Officer at Borders Textile Towerhouse, about their recent projects around engaging with the local community, schools and local textile industries; and Rebecca Quinton, Curator of European Costume and Textiles, who provided an overview of the current exhibition of Parisian fashion plates at Scotland Street School Museum.
The discussions were a great opportunity for everyone to get to know each other a little better and to work out how we envisage this network taking root – and we’ve already hit the ground running! An information working group was formed who have been looking into what kind of web presence the network might set up and what our main method of communication should be, and in the meantime we are setting up an email address through which to administrate an e-forum, to enable social networking and knowledge exchange amongst members. We are hoping to meet again before the end of the year to review progress and to look more closely at our long-term vision and we welcome anyone with an interest in or responsibility for dress and textiles collections; as well as those working within the industry, academics, students and enthusiasts; to join us as we move forward. If you are interested in joining this network please contact me via comment or via our website.